Merry Christmas, everyone!
It might just be an awesome Friday, or a day of festive fun, but whatever you get up to, have an excellent day!
It’s a long weekend again, something always to be cherished! I’ve been celebrating with some games, which is unsurprising to long-time readers – Arkham Horror and Lord of the Rings LCG have both made an appearance thus far, and I don’t doubt that many others will join them before the weekend is over!
May has otherwise been a pretty sparse month for gaming, I think due to other commitments that have engulfed me – namely, the degree. Yesterday, however, I had a day off, and after getting a new tire for the car (I know how to live), I popped along to the local games store for a couple of games.
First up, I’d been asked to give a demo of Android: Netrunner, which appeared on my blog not too long ago, and was utterly decimated by my opponent in his very first game! I played as the Runner (as per), with my classic Shaper deck, while I gave him a Haas/Bioroid deck that was basically the list from Creation and Control, with a couple of other cards added in. We played with open hands, and all his cards were played face-up so as to explain the game as it went along, but yeah… decimated!
I suppose that shows the beauty of how this game works. The deck is really well-made, so pretty much runs itself: a lot of ice, and just enough agenda points, and I just couldn’t get in. That said, I did have some pretty bad draws, only ever drawing two icebreaker programs (despite using two Diesel cards). I’ve only ever played against Weyland Consortium, so it was interesting to see how another corp plays. He liked it, anyway, and hopefully we’ll get some more plays in.
Following that, I had two games of X-Wing, the first using the squad above that centred around Vader. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while now, since I started on this X-Wing rediscovery and all! My usual strategy, of ‘just fly around and shoot stuff’, worked really poorly, as I couldn’t do anything to stop Matt’s usual reliance on Biggs. I lost, but it took time to lose!
That was followed by an impromptu game where I made the following squad up on the fly:
Luckily, there were some other X-Wing players in the store, one of whom suggested Fel and loaned me some upgrades to use. It ended wonderfully badly, as the interceptors were picked off quickly, and Echo, while doing some damage, still didn’t do enough before following them. My Obsidian Squadron Pilot, however, turned into something of a star turn – at one point, he managed to score three critical hits when targeting Horton Salm at range 1, the Y-Wing only evading one! However, it still wasn’t meant to be, and he followed his fellows into the cold void.
Looking back over previous games in general, a trend emerges of me doing really badly. These two X-Wing games in particular have just served to highlight that. Being at the store however, with other folks there offering me advice and stuff, it occurred to me that my poor track record doesn’t actually bother me in the slightest. And I think the pep-talk before that second game really underlined the fact that I’m just not a serious gamer.
I’ve probably mentioned, dozens of times now, that I’m not a very strategic player of games. I will usually attempt to put some sort of strategy together in card games like Lord of the Rings or Android Netrunner, but my past experiences have shown that it is so very rare that any kind of strategy will actually come together, so nowadays I tend not to bother with those sorts of things. Part of me feels that card games like these have a much higher luck aspect than most people give them credit for – while you can build a deck that looks perfect, you’re still going to shuffle that deck before you begin, so there’s no way you can reliably get those cards that you need into your hand to allow your chosen strategy to unfold. While many such games will include cards that let you search portions of (or even your whole) deck for cards, you’re usually limited to the number of specific cards you can include in your deck, so if you don’t draw any such “scrying” cards, you’re going to be hampered.
I read a lot about people who have unmitigated success with games like Lord of the Rings, who espouse their chosen strategy as The One etc, but I often wonder how many games they’ve actually abandoned before the first turn is over, because their opening hand (and mulligan) didn’t contain those key cards. Personally, I never mulligan in card games – maybe it’s something I should start thinking about…
Returning to the X-Wing example, the upgrades I was loaned for Soontir Fel were clearly designed to do some pretty awesome strategy, but that guy was shot out of the sky on the second turn due to poor dice rolling on my part. Dice hate me anyway, of course, but that’s by-the-by. There was a look of some horror as my fighter ace was shot out right from under me, almost like I had betrayed that upgrade combo I’d been given. Or worse, that I just didn’t get the game enough to play it properly. Whatever. I actually had more fun playing with my Obsidian Squadron Pilot than I did with that strategically-perfect Fel, because it gave me the chance for some role-playing, as I told the story of a pilot, fresh from the academy (so he remembered all of the lessons because they were still fresh), wanting to make a name for himself by flying alongside the legendary Fel but, when he was shot down, decided to go out for revenge and show that he was a legitimate part of the Empire’s finest. He rolled those three crits on his first attack after going in for revenge, which really just fueled the story.
But you know what? When the game was over, the one thing we were all talking about was how that nameless pilot managed to survive for round after round, trying to avenge Fel – not the wonderful upgrade combo that should have let Fel last longer than just two rounds.
This is why I’m not interested in power-gaming. This is why I will always play the theme decks over the power decks. The opportunity to create epic storytelling adventures will always appeal to me over the opportunity to win. I may not be classed as a serious gamer, but I definitely have fun with these things. And I think my opponents do, too.
After the heady excitement of my Birthday Week, and the exploration of the Indiana Jones franchise, it’s back to Star Wars, my original true love, and some exciting news for gaming, following the Anaheim shenanigans last weekend!
Let’s start with Wave 7 for X-Wing! Releases for this game continue apace, as we get new ships for all three of the current factions. The K-Wing makes an appearance for the rebels, something I’ve been particularly pleased about since I’m a big fan of the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy. It also gets a new move, SLAM, which basically allows it to move twice, so long as both movements are at the same speed. The Imperials get the TIE Punisher, though most people will probably know it better as the TIE Interdictor from the Galactic Battlegrounds game. It’s basically an advanced version of the TIE Bomber (from Wave 3), and both this and the K-Wing have some pretty snazzy ordnance they bring to the table. Very useful is the Advanced Ordnance card, which lets you use missiles and bombs twice, so that’ll most likely become a staple!
Scum takes up half of this wave, which makes sense, given they’re still quite far behind the other factions so far. Black Sun’s Kihraxz fighter makes its appearance, which has got me excited to build a Black Sun squadron, and Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk’s ship Hound’s Tooth rounds out the experience. He has the ability to escape his destroyed ship in the headhunter Nashtah Pup, which is a nice addition – I was surprised at first that we don’t actually get a headhunter model, but it would most likely drive the price of the expansion up to include it and, as was pointed out to me, most Scum players will have Most Wanted anyway.
So it’s a pretty exciting release, and since I’ve started to play this game, I’m really looking forward to it!
Speaking of X-Wing, we’ve also had a more in-depth look at the Imperial Raider, which I feel has been on the horizon for months already!
Announced back in December (I think – it seems longer!), it’s something that I’m pretty excited to get my hands on, even though I don’t foresee any epic play on the cards anytime soon. There are some interesting bits and pieces there, though – and who knows, now that the Imperials have a big ship as well, maybe we’ll see more epic play games…
More reinforcements have been announced for Imperial Assault, too. As someone mentioned on facebook, this is where the skirmish game really begins, and I can definitely see that. Up to now, we seem to have been having the lieutenant-like expansions similar to the Descent model, which basically replace tokens from the base game with actual miniatures, but with new chaps that we can bring to the table, it begins to feel much more like a miniatures battle game, much like the previous Star Wars Miniatures games from Wizards of the Coast and West End Games. Even though I haven’t been able to play with the base game yet, I’m hoping I can sell the idea to Tony with the skirmish side, then hook him in with the scenario-driven game. We shall see!
The miniatures do look great, though I’m not going to paint them – the manager at the local store has done his store copy, and that looks fantastic, but they’re too small and detailed for me!
Again, I’m pretty excited for these guys, even though I’ve yet to play the game. Star Wars Miniatures was one of my favourite games, back in the day – which is surprising, given that it’s got basically no story to it, and you’re just trying to wipe out your opponent before he wipes you out. But I played a lot of that game back in the day, and it’s really exciting to think we might get that sort of experience again, though on a much more sensible scale (as opposed to the blind-buy from Wizards).
Making splendid use of my amazon vouchers, I’ve decided to go for the latest novels in hardcover. It seems Del Rey is moving to all their books coming out in hardcover now, so it’ll help to distinguish them from my now-Legends novels.
Well, this was unexpected…
So soon after the GAMA Trade Show stuff for Armada and Imperial Assault, we’re given yet more Star Wars goodness from FFG at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim!
Yes, I still haven’t played Imperial Assault, and while the expansion model of lots of small packs of miniatures is a little worrying for the bank balance, it is nevertheless pretty exciting to see the game expand in this modular way, as you can pick and choose what you want – especially for the skirmish play, but also adding in actual miniatures for the scenario stuff is cool.
Next deluxe for the LCG is, of course, a welcome announcement, and by the looks of it, we’ll be getting Imperials and Smugglers. As a side note, Imperial Entanglements always reminds me more of the West End Games supplement than Obi-Wan’s line in A New Hope, and I always feel happy to see stuff like that 🙂
Wave 7 for X-Wing was a bit of a surprise, though a lot of folks will probably think it’s long overdue. My guess would be we’re getting one rebel, one imperial, and two scum ships, the Kihraxz Assault Fighter being affiliated with Black Sun of course (and already in the LCG, to boot!)
Anyhow, it’s good to see all the lines looking healthy, and the promise of lots more Star Wars games to come!
But wait – that’s not all!
The Lando story sounds like it could be good. Of course, I’m a big fan of AC Crispin’s Han Solo trilogy, and don’t really relish the idea of that being wiped away, but the comic is set sometime between Rebel Dawn and The Empire Strikes Back, so it’s possible that nothing will contradict the Bantam series there.
The Shattered Empire has already been briefly mentioned as part of the run-up to December’s film, and while I’m intrigued to see what Disney have decided to do with the post-Jedi era, the EU fan within me feels a bit insulted that the press release begins:
“The world has been wondering what happened after the fall of the Empire since the credits first rolled on ‘Return of the Jedi’ in 1983,”
We’ve known what has happened since 1990, and Heir to the Empire, thank you very much! Bah! So it’s with a degree of trepidation, and some scepticism, that I’ll most likely be reading this book when it comes out in September.
So while I’m still a bit sad about the loss of the EU as I knew it, the one bright spot on the horizon comes from this article on sw.com about the upcoming novel Aftermath, part of a trilogy that bridges the gap between episodes VI and VII with both new characters and “familiar faces”. Maybe Talon Karrde and Mara Jade live, after all? For all my love of the EU that I’ve just discussed, it’s something that I actually feel Bantam didn’t do all that well – the Empire fell at Endor insofar as the Emperor and Vader died, but what happened to the galaxy at large? Somehow, that epic sweep that the new trailer seems to sum up so nicely in the depiction of a crashed Star Destroyer was lost, and instead we got the X-Wing series, which was basically a set of novels showcasing just how awesome Corran Horn is as a person. But I’ve had that rant before. We do somehow lack that immediate sense of, just what the hell happened next?
Y’know, this may be the first Star Wars novel I buy in hardcover…
Picked up wave six of this game from the local store today, £75 well spent, possibly…!
So there we have it!
I’m thinking about signing up to an X-Wing league at my local store, can’t really decide if I want to do that yet if I’m honest. But anyway, it’s a thought!
Today I picked up the Feldherr medium bag for my X-Wing ships – enough storage for 25 ships along with the V-25 Decimator and the Lambda shuttle:
It’s not a bad product, I must say, though the foam does feel a little too feeble, if I’m totally honest. The case itself doesn’t seem too bad, like it’s sturdy and will protect the minis just fine, but the foam does worry me slightly.
Of course, the custom slots for the Lambda shuttle and the Decimator are really useful, with large slots to fit the bases and whatnot too.
I’ve got to admit, I’m not 100% sure whether I’m happy with how I’ve got everything stored right now, but I’m sure I’ve got time to sort it out if need be. For now, anyway, it’s pretty good, and it will definitely fit my needs for transportation (though not for storage – going to think a bit more on that one). All in all, I’m pretty pleased with it, though I think I’d prefer something that carried horizontal rather than vertical.
Had another game of X-Wing today down at the games shop, another awesome time!
I changed up my squad a little from last time – I really wanted to use that TIE Defender, so took Rexler Brath out for a trip, along with Howlrunner and a pair of Black Squadron pilots. For the curious among you, Rexler led the elite Onyx Squadron during the Battle of Endor; Howlrunner (real name Civé Rashon) led Obsidian Squadron in pursuit of the Falcon over Cloud City, and Black Squadron was attached to the first Death Star.
Today’s game went pretty horribly, as I kept miscalculating and flying into asteroids. Rexler lost two of his shields (yes, a TIE with shields!) to one of these, and turned out to be the main target for Matt’s rebels – three A-Wings, Tycho Celchu, Arvel Crynyd and Jake Farrell. First blood was Rexler (nearly half my squad points!), but my three TIEs did a pretty good job sticking it out! However, asteroids…
To be honest, my defense rolls went really well, with lots of evades and whatnot. It was just those damn asteroids! Honestly…
I managed to take out Arvel Crynyd, though I feel it was more out of luck than anything else! Tycho hilariously flew off the board, very much in an attitude of giving up, as Howlrunner was shot down but the remaining TIEs flew into asteroids, causing one to explode. Jake scored a critical hit on my last guy, causing a Console Fire that blew the last guy up!
Hilarious, I must say – I think we worked it out that, of my 12 hull points and 3 shields, 7 hits were caused by the rocks, with an eighth caused by the console fire. Terrible times! But it was a wonderful game, I have to say!
I’m really not one of these people who plays games all for the win, I’m all about playing for the sheer enjoyment of playing. While it was fun for me to win last time, I think this game was much more enjoyable for the hilarity of my continual bad flying, and the fact the dice hate me!
Looking forward to my next game. Got Vader in that squad!
Black Squadron Pilot (TIE Fighter) x2 – 14 points each
-Determination – 1 point each